In the summer of 2018, I was at a show with our CJ3a. A visitor told me that I should write an article for the Farm Collector magazine. I had to admit that I wasn’t familiar with the publication, but a quick search at www.farmcollector.com made me think that might be fun. I sent an email to the editor later in the summer, asking if they would be interested in a short article on the Farm Jeep. The editor wrote back, saying they had just accepted an article on the Farm Jeep and it would be published in December.
I was surprised and asked if I could have the name of the author. It wasn’t a name I had come across, so I subscribed to the magazine and waited for the issue with the Jeep story to arrive. When the magazine come, I was shocked. The article contain a number of errors and declared that the Farm Jeep was a short-lived failure.
After my initial outrage, I cooled down enough to realize that we needed to do a better job of telling the Farm Jeep story. The author had every right to tell his version, even if it didn’t agree with the facts. So I set about to right what I saw as a wrong. I started by submitting an article to Farm Collector that was published in April, 2020. That article highlighted the Farm Jeep demo that was part of the annual Willys Jeep Rally and featured our friend John Ittel.
I also realized that much of our research had focused on the early CJs and that we had little information on the CJ5 and the period from its introduction until the end of the era around 1970. That was an important part of the Farm Jeep story and it led to the E&K story about the Stratton Lift.
In the fall of 2021, I submitted another article to the magazine, with the idea of correcting some of the information presented in the 2018 article. My first draft was “too much Jeep” (a few kind words from the editor made me realize this) and I rewrote the article to be more “tractor forward.” It was based on our work on the “Jeep as a light tractor.“
In January, I learned that the article had been accepted and I was asked if I had a photo suitable for the cover. Needless to say, I was thrilled. There had never been a Jeep on the cover of the magazine and I couldn’t think of a better rebuttal to that 2018 story.
So the cover photo is special for many reasons. The first is that it was taken at the Jeep Rally demo that showed Farm Jeeps of all types in action. But this Jeep was a 1963 CJ5 plowing with a Newgren lift and plow from the late 1940s. It was also a way to honor our friend John who had taught us that the Farm Jeep wasn’t just about the CJ2a or CJ3a or even John’s beloved CJ3bs but about the CJ5 too.
The article is available online at www.farmcollector.com/company-history/jeeps-on-farm-zm0z22mayzram/ (you may need a subscription to view it). I believe it is a fair treatment of the subject. My hope is that it provides an alternative to the original story and will bring a new audience to the Farm Jeep. Most importantly I believe it shows the the Jeep has a place as a part of “Vintage Farm Equipment.”